Normcore Disrupts Fashion Brand Identity – Forbes
By now you’ve probably heard about normcore, the fashion agnostic way that youth are dressing up (or not) lately.
If you haven’t tuned in, ‘normcore’ splinters the sense of identity into an iconic brand mashup. For example, one normcore youth spotted on the streets of San Francisco was wearing Ferragamo-type brown shoes with thick white red-striped athletic socks, plaid jeans, graphic tshirt, Nike jacket, topped off with a logo’d baseball cap.
This multi-brand experience neutralizes the brain’s ability to index or categorize. Since we have been trained to differentiate people by what they wear–Ivy League bow tie versus leather motorcycle jacket and chains versus Chanel and Jimmy Choos versus bling gangbanger, or whatever–normcore does not match our indexing. Rather, it is a brand blender that prevents us from knowing who you are. And suspends judgment.
We are born a clean slate. We are told that we are a brother, sister, daughter, or son. From the earliest breath, we are told who we are, what we must aspire to, what to avoid, and where (and how) we fit in. For millennia, status and wealth have been broadcasted by what we wear: we are reminded that, once upon a time, only Kings were allowed to wear the color purple.
Clothing still defines our identity and where we fit into even the most democratic societies.
For a generation trying to steer free of marketers’ grapple hooks, normcore provides a brash alternative. Millennials have been categorized by brands their entire lives (Baby Gap, A&F, J. Crew, Michael Kors, et al.), now they are finding fresh spirit, freedom, rebellion and insulation in a fashion meme that rattles our perceptions of what fashion “looks” might, could or should be.
Runways be damned. In a world where stars blurt out ‘who’ they’re wearing on Oscar night, normcore provides an alternative that (by nature) restricts mainstream brands from hopping on their bandwagon.
Fashion brands may not be the better for it, but a generation of young people might.